FILE : ENVIRONMENT
“What gets measured gets managed better” is the Montreal Port Authority’s take on this long-time business adage. It is also the approach that the Port of Montreal has adopted towards every facet of its operations.
Nathalee Loubier and Carole Nuttal,environmental advisors for the Port of Montreal.
“Nothing escapes attention,” says Daniel Dagenais, the Montreal Port Authority’s operations manager. “The port’s sustainability policy requires us to analyse the environmental impact of every action under consideration and then to take steps to minimize all impact as much as possible before anything is actually done.”
The MPA is among only 11 per cent of ports worldwide with an environmental management system that sets high standards for all of its activities. The port assumed a pioneering role in 2008 when it was among the first in the world to measure the emissions from all of its activities.
“We immediately recognized the need to eliminate all idling by trucks,” says Carole Nuttall, an MPA environment advisor.
“The port went a step further in March 2011 by establishing a new truck entry portal that has reduced transaction times by 80 per cent and waiting times by half,” Nuttall adds. “By establishing initial benchmarks, we’ve been able to gauge the effectiveness of this and other initiatives.”
David Bolduc, executive director of Green Marine.
Joining the Green Marine environmental program as a founding member in 2007 prompted the Port of Montreal to start benchmarking a range of daily operations with the goal of reducing their environmental impact.
Green Marine is a North American program for ports, terminals, shipping companies and other marine transportation enterprises to measurably improve their environmental performance.
“The program enables companies to assess their environmental improvement in a way that everyone can readily understand,” says David Bolduc, Green Marine’s executive director.
Companies rank their environmental performance regarding several environmental, ecological and community priorities. These include preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species, reducing greenhouse gases (GHG), and minimizing noise, dust and unnecessary lighting.
Level 1 indicates compliance with all existing regulations. It is the mandatory starting point for all participants. Everything beyond that is graded between Levels 2 and 5 for each priority, with Level 5 indicating outstanding environmental leadership.
“All of the participants agree to have their self-assessments verified by an outside auditor who asks to see the data and documentation to support the levels claimed,” Bolduc says. “You need to present the measured numbers – something to show that improvement is really happening in order to establish and maintain credibility.”
The ranking system has facilitated initial benchmarking with the goal of year-over-year improvements.
“It’s so important to have some kind of consistent framework to measure your progress so that you know to what extent your investments in new equipment, technology and/or training are reducing the company’s environmental footprint,” Bolduc says.
“Green Marine also enables the participants to compare their performance with others and be motivated through friendly rivalries,” he adds. “It’s quite amazing how all of the participants have willingly shared their experience with best practices, new equipment as well as technology, knowing the industry as a whole benefits when ports and shipping companies improve their sustainability.”
Five straightforward levels also make it easy for everyone outside the industry to understand where a company ranks and how it has improved its sustainability over the previous year. All of the participants have agreed to make their assessments public.
The Port of Montreal has been involved with Green Marine from when it was first proposed as an idea seven years ago.
“A representative of the Montreal Port Authority chaired the St. Lawrence advisory committee that devised the program’s initial framework and priorities,” Bolduc says. “Already an environmental leader in Quebec, the Port of Montreal provided a clear vision to other stakeholders by defining several of the environmental objectives that Green Marine should pursue.
“While the Port of Montreal was in many respects ahead of the game, it strived to set the bar much higher for itself, too,” Bolduc adds.
As the first port in Eastern Canada to measure its air emissions, the Port of Montreal shared these metrics with the other stakeholders involved in creating Green Marine. “The Port of Montreal also participated in pilot projects that helped Green Marine to refine its methodology for ranking improvements in air quality,” Bolduc says.
Bolduc commends Sylvie Vachon, the Montreal Port Authority’s president and CEO, for championing the Green Marine program. “She convinced other ports in Canada to join, and personally wrote a letter to all of the tenants at the Port of Montreal that encouraged them to participate,” he says. “She is one of Green Marine’s best ambassadors.”
The port earned solid rankings for its 2011 report card – achieving Level 4 (reflecting the introduction of new environmental technologies) for its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We replaced the port’s traditional locomotives, for example, with multiple-generator models that cut GHG emissions by 90 per cent and fuel consumption by more than half,” says Nuttall.
The port repeated its Level 5 (excellence and leadership) performance for its environmental stewardship. Leadership initiatives have included taking steps to make it easier for employees to use public transit or their bicycles to commute, as well as engaging the employees and the public in events such as the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
“It’s our constant goal to make employees and the larger port community aware of what everyone can do at work and elsewhere to help the environment,” says Nathalee Loubier, an MPA environment advisor. “This includes all of our terminal operators who must agree to the environmental conditions and commitments that form part of the port’s lease agreement.”
Results for the port’s 2012 Green Marine performance will reflect further improvements, such as the phasing out of existing service and maintenance vehicles in favour of hybrids. “The new equipment reduces GHG emissions by 39 per cent,” says Nuttall.
Green Marine is one of several major initiatives comprising ports around the world. CLIMEPORT, for example, has involved several Mediterranean ports in identifying and using specific tools to minimize the GHG emissions from regular port activities.
The Valencia Port Authority in Spain initiated the project, which has involved other Mediterranean ports in France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia and Spain. Co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, CLIMEPORT has benefitted from the expertise of two energy agencies and a technological partner.
CLIMEPORT has also emphasized the importance of measuring environmental progress. The first of its three main priorities required each port to conduct a GHG inventory that matched emissions with their source to determine the exact amount caused by each port activity.
Figuring out each port’s carbon footprint came next by calculating the number of tonnes of carbon dioxide produced directly and indirectly by the port and its activities in the area.
The project also involved every port benchmarking its efforts and later sharing these initiatives along with best practices at a 2012 conference so the port authorities could learn from each other to continue to improve their environmental performance.
Pursuing global standards
Paul Robbins, marine marketing director for
The precision of measurements has become a priority as everyone recognizes the economic and social value of environmental claims. No one wants to invest in products that fail to deliver on their promises. Neither does anyone want to make assertions that are later discovered to fall short.
Several companies that provide marine paint coatings worldwide have asked the International Maritime Organization to develop a standard methodology to verify the fuel and other energy savings of cleaner technologies.
International Paint, BMT ARGOSS, and NAPA have asked the IMO’s Environment Protection Committee to establish a consistent approach that could be used globally.
“There continues to be a disconnect between ‘clean’ technology providers, who believe they have affordable solutions that will provide a measurable return on investment within a short period of time, and ship owners and operators who are wary of over-inflated fuel saving claims,” explains Paul Robbins, International Paint’s marine marketing manager.
In order to close this gap and avoid delays in shipping companies adopting better environmental technologies, Robbins and his colleagues have asked the IMO to standardize a methodology that scientifically prove claims and make analyses and the resulting data transparent. Globalized standards would enable shipping companies to make more informed choices and invest with greater confidence in environmental improvements. Consistent and transparent standards would also build public confidence.
Recognizing these advantages, the European Union Climate Action Commission has announced its intention to pursue the establishment of a monitoring, reporting and verifying process. Case to follow…